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Endurance - Frank Arthur Worsley, Patrick O'Brian I'm not always able to finish the non-fiction that I pick up, no matter how "worthy" the book or "fascinating" the topic, so I approach with trepidation. I needn't have worried about Worsley's _Endurance_, though. The first three quarters is absolutely, breathlessly riveting. The physical feats of the men are one thing, but I had just as much admiration for their mental toughness. It's hard to imagine being stuck on an ice floe for months (and months!) after your ship has sunk, with an appreciably small chance of survival, and to not only persevere in the most extreme conditions, but to never lose the pluck and good humor Worsley attributes to one and all.

Worsley's mindset is that of the the late Victorian English gentleman explorer. On one hand, it's *very* (unintentionally) funny because it hews to every stereotype you can think of. On the other hand (the "noble savage" stuff hand), it's less so. Of course, the voyage took place in 1914-16, so Worsley was the real deal. If you can appreciate the Victorian silliness (and I can), it only makes it better. If I ever went back to school, I would totally write an examination of the construction of the male Victorian character using Worsley's narrative - fascinating! (I bet someone already has.)

The other thing (probably another facet of the paper topic above!) is Worsley's devotion to Shackleton. As Patrick O'Brian points out in his introduction, Worsley could really care less about everyone else. It would be interesting to read an account less focused on Shackleton and more on the entire crew. I found the last quarter of the book a big yawn. It deals with Worsley's life after the polar expedition and it seems like even he's not that interested since he's not with Shackleton.

In a side note, I would like a few more maps! It only had one overall map in the very front of the book — completely inadequate! If I read it again, I'll keep an atlas by me.